Ammonium citrate as enhancement for electrodialytic soil remediation and investigation of soil solution during the process

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Seven electrodialytic experiments were conducted using ammonium citrate as enhancing agent to remediate copper and chromium-contaminated soil from a wood-preservation site. The purpose was to investigate the effect of current density (0.2, 1.0 and 1.5 mA cm−2), concentration of enhancing agent (0.25, 0.5 and 1.0 M) and remediation times (21, 42 and 117 d) for the removal of Cu and Cr from a calcareous soil. To gain insight on metal behavior, soil solution was periodically collected using suction cups. It was seen that current densities higher than 1.0 mA cm−2 did not increase removal and thus using too high current densities can be a waste of energy. Desorption rate is important and both remediation time and ammonium citrate concentration are relevant parameters. It was possible to collect soil solution samples following an adaptation of the experimental set-up to ensure continuous supply of ammonium citrate to the soil in order to keep it saturated during the remediation. Monitoring soil solution gives valuable information on the evolution of remediation and helps deciding when the soil is remediated.
Final concentrations in the soil ranged from 220 to 360 mg Cu kg−1 (removals: 78–86%) and 440–590 mg Cr kg−1 (removals: 35–51%), being within the 500 mg kg−1 limit for a clean soil only for Cu. While further optimization is still required for Cr, the removal percentages are the highest achieved so far, for a real Cu and Cr-contaminated, calcareous soil. The results highlight EDR potential to remediate metal polluted soils at neutral to alkaline pH by choosing a good enhancement solution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-895
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Copper
  • Chromium
  • Treated wood
  • Suction cups
  • Electrokinetic remediation
  • Contaminated soil


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